DM News: 20 and Counting

It was this month 20 years ago that DM News made its debut in the direct marketing world. Back then, the staff had three full-time employees: founder and publisher Adrian Courtenay, founding editor Joe Fitz-Morris and one writer. The first issue was only 28 pages, and front-page headlines included “New Warning of List Restrictions Issued” (about a story covering List Day ’79) and “Dance Companies Tap New Mart Thru List Tests.”

A great deal has changed in those intervening years. Growth in size and frequency has made DM News the industry leader. Circulation now stands at more than 37,000 (up from 20,000 for that first issue), a typical paper is 64 pages and the editorial staff alone totals 18 — and we’ll be growing even more very shortly as our sister publication, iMarketing News, goes weekly in January.

The DM universe has grown over the years as well. Direct Mail Marketing Association president Robert F. DeLay reported 20 years ago that its membership was at 3,476. Today, the DMA has more than 4,600 members. DM sales have soared, too: from $100 billion then to $1.3 trillion last year, according to the DMA. And who’d have guessed that the Internet would come along and revolutionize the entire business.

When you get down to it, though, our reporters are writing about many of the same issues that we’ve covered since Day 1. Privacy and self-regulation remain a key concern, and campaign stories and test mailings continue to be DM News staples. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

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